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John L. Wright: 1929-2023


John L. Wright, MD, passed away surrounded by loved ones on Oct. 1, 2023.

John was born on October 23, 1929, in Taylor Township, Pennsylvania, to Maynard Wright and Ruth Wible Wright. He was the second of five children and grew up in nearby Johnstown. He spent many boyhood summers on his grandfather's Fulton County farm.

John attended Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia (now Drexel University) and served as a medical doctor in the Navy from 1957-59. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Temple University.

In 1962, John moved to Seattle to take a two-year research fellowship in endocrinology at the University of Washington. He spent the rest of his life in the Seattle area, living most of that time in the South Snohomish County town of Woodway.

From 1964 to 1989, John practiced internal medicine and endocrinology at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. During this time, he was also Associate Medical Director with responsibilities for, among other duties, residency training programs and continuing education conferences presented by the medical staff.

From 1989 to 1994, he served as Vice President for Medical Staff Affairs. He was a Clinical Professor Emeritus in Medicine at the University of Washington and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

In 1988, at the age of 59, John wrote his first poem as an assignment for a short story writing class. This began a relationship with poetry that became his primary project after retiring from medicine.

Over the following thirty-four years, in addition to his self-published collections, his poems found their way into twelve anthologies, most notably "Blood and Bone" (1998) and "Primary Care" (2006), both published by the University of Iowa Press, and "Pontoon: An Anthology of Washington State Poets" (2000, 2005, 2008 and 2012), published by Floating Bridge Press.

His latest collection of poems is "The Loveliness of This World" (2020), published by Finishing Line Press.

John was known to his friends, colleagues and patients as an open and warm-hearted man who was interested in the people he met and their stories. Many were touched by his kindness and humor. He made new personal connections at each stage of life and remained curious and inspired until the very end.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lanita, their sons, Matt and John, their spouses and children, and his younger siblings Dan Wright, MD, and Debbie Slick.

No funeral or memorial service is immediately planned. The family will notify friends and loved ones in the future when a service is scheduled.